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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatdane
I live in the desert and don't have a green thumb anyway. Would like to try to do a little windowsill box or boxes with one or two though. I LOVE fresh dill!

GD
that is the one herb i cannot stand! but the hubby and the kid like it. so hubby always grows it. it's easy to grow, and tho i don't pay much attn to that herb, it seems to always do very well.
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Smile Thank you, everyone!


Wow - you have all been so helpful with your suggestions, thank you so much... even with the culinary herbs, as I am quite passionate at using a blend of "Italian" herbs in my sauces and salads.

The reason I asked about herbs used in Magick was to help me get started. My training and knowledge of herbs as healing plants spans many decades, but I haven't explored them for their magical or spiritual properties. I can look it up in books, it's true, but having someone who has actually grown and used them share their experience is so much better than any one-dimension list I can just read in a book.

This year I have hesitated in growing my herbs, as we are on our new piece of land. The forest is directly behind us, a Maple grove with some Balsam Fir and a tiny stand of three Ash trees, butting up against, 2 acres away, to a Coniferous forest. So we are 'protected' in the North with this great forest, but very open to the South, but only with dry, rocky soil. The forest soil is thin, of course and it's so shady that it will be hard to grow most herbs. The dry soil in front of the house will have to be amended greatly before any garden bed can thrive there.

So - for this year I think I will grow my herbs in pots. I have some nice containers that I can stack here and there. I have lots of room! So space is not the problem. Water is also not an issue as we have our own Spring from which we can draw all the water we need.

As for what I have... I had many perennials last year that were still in pots come Autumn, so I did something no one around here had ever done, and they thought me crazy for doing it. I brought all the pots together in one low spot in the forest near our berm/pad (on which we have our mini-home) and I covered them all with a thick layer of straw. They wintered very well, I am happy to say, and about 75% survived, if not more.

I have Garden Sage, Lady's Mantle, Oregano, Thyme, Mugwort, Self-Heal, Evening Primrose, Clover, Balsam Poplar, Birch, Willow, Sweet Fern, and small fruits such as Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Currants. I use all for either medicine or food, except for the Lady's Mantle. I just love her unconditionally.

As was mentioned previously, yes it can be dangerous to burn herbs unless you know which ones are toxic, and which ones are not. I make smudge sticks from Mugwort, but only use it in the open air, and try not to inhale the smoke except to take a ceremonial whiff. Mugwort helps bring on insightful dreams. I also keep a wreath of it nearby when I do my Tarot readings, as it helps me by clarifying my thoughts.

I am so glad to have found a community of like minds where I can share my interests.

Warm thanks, everyone
Ramona
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never heard of self heal. what does this look like and what do you use this for? is it good for cooking? it does sound like a healing plant, by its name--what healing properties does it have? easy to grow? in a pot?
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Self-Heal


Hi, CelticNoodle ~
The Self-Heal plant, or Heal-All, is just that, a very versatile "weed" that grows on most lawns, and especially in the shade. Its scientific name is "Prunella vulgaris," so maybe you've heard of it by that name? It belongs to the Mint family, so it has many of its general properties.

Uses: May be added to salads, teas, and cooking, such as adding to pancake or cookie dough. The leaves have a coarse texture, so it would be best to cut them up real fine.
As an anti-fungal or an anti-itch medicine, just squeeze juice of plant onto affected area and rub in. Will help heal cold sores, rashes, and bruises; apply as compress on the last two.

Healing Properties: Contains a high concentration of Rosmarinic Acid, a very helpful chemical that has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, to name just a few. Used as a daily tonic by the otherwise healthy individual, there are no side-effects. For those of us - me included - who suffer from a thyroid problem, and this is VERY important! Self-heal contains anti-thyroid properties as well, just like its relative Lemon Balm, Basil, Oregano, mints, etc. That means that it will affect your thyroid meds in a negative way if you take TOO MUCH of it - an occasional tea or a few leaves in cooking will not have much of an effect - but it's a warning to be weary of.

I use Self-Heal as a tincture (Herb parts, water and brandy) and this is my description of it for the rest of its properties:

"Including Self-Heal with your cold remedies may help you get over a cold or flu much faster, and may help with sore throat, viral and bacterial infections, and Herpes flare-ups.

Two other healing functions of this potent herb include possibly reducing the pain due to inflammation, rheumatism, and CFS-Fibromyalgia, and reducing hemorrhaging and heavy bleeding during periods. It is also a uterotonic. Its strengthening ability with capillaries indicate it to be potentially useful for varicose veins, bruises and while undergoing overall healing during convalescence. Also contains Anti-Allergy, Anti-Shock and Anti-Fatigue chemical activity." Source used most for my research is Dr. Duke Phytochemical Database, available online.

I am not a doctor but as a plant scientist, I have studied herbs for their medicinal properties for over two decades, and have used them on myself very successfully. I have Fibromyalgia, CFS, many allergies, hypothyroidism, and other stuff. Not that I'm trying to elicit sympathy by listing these things, but I want to make it clear that I'm not just throwing herb names and chemicals at you without knowing what I'm talking about, because I do. I have studied herbs extensively, have taken courses, and consulted with botanists on this information.

I am passionate about herbs, and especially the ones that grow right outside our door, or in our backyards. To many people, they are called weeds, but to me they are miracle plants that Mother Earth has provided to grow alongside of us, to heal us, to help us in our daily lives.

If you want me to post photos of Self-Heal or other herbs on my page, I can do that, so you can see what I'm talking about. I also have tons of seeds of this plant, if you want some, just let me know and I'll mail some to you. As long as you are either in Canada or the US, I can do that. But not in Australia, sorry. I wish I could, but I can't - against Aus Customs very reasonable rules.

So there you go - all about Self-Heal or Heal-All. One of my favourite herbs!
Ramona
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sounds like the ideal herb for me and i'll be looking for it to plant and try as well! could you send me the recipes you use this miracle herb for, and how you use it for your thyroid problem, allergies, etc?

I do have thyroid problems, and taking meds for this now. so, i'll have to really be careful. i wonder if applying it to my skin would still affect me wiht the thyroid medicine, or is it only when taken orally that it can effect that?

I have allergies galore, bruise very easiy, soft bone disease, (wonder if it could help that?!) and a score of problems--arthritis, etc. I also suffer from rosacea and lately have been breaking out in terrible large itchy hives all over my face, neck and chest. this has happened 4 or 5 times in the last 2mos. we cannot (doc & I) figure out if it is food allergies or what, as I keep a food diary and will try a suspect again only to have no problem at all. very frustrating! i wonder if this would be a good topical aid for that? I do have a prescription gel for it now, but it's expensive and I also have to carry Benadryl with me everywhere for this--which I don't really like to take.

anyway, thank you for the info and the site for me to check out online. i will do that! i'm v ery interested in finding out more on this incredibly sounding herb.

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I have only just got a garden to plant anything in. we been here for 6 months. and already Db's Garden grows. I love gardening and the pleasure i get from watching it grow and bare fruits..It is exciting to use tomatoes you have grwon yourself. lettuce, onions etc,,and all the herbs for cooking and smells in the house.. it so nice to have basket of freshly picked herbs on your kitchen bench.. nothing beats it. It makes our home a home.

I am yet to cultivate for tea.. or use any of it for medicinal purposes as they have all only just been planted.
But i surely intend for them to be used.

I have aloe vera which is an older plant and has been used many times. it is in an old terracotta pot I cant remember how long we have had it..
I have echinacea which when it flowers ,the flower semi dried & infused as a tea is great for reducing any flu or cold symptom.
I have Basil which is going spastic, it is used most in my house, we use it in cooking and used to make dips and also as an airfreshner.. by placing the flower heads in a shallow pan of water and gently simmer, basil juice from this exercise is also great in your bath water, and excellent for headaches and stress. lemon peel and orange peel also gently simmered is a great house freshner as well both combined an excellent pick me up.. especially if you feel lethargic and heavy.
We have Lemon Basil which is also used in the pot for a house freshner and a pick me up, and also used in cooking.
Once a week i go out and cut off all the flower heads of both basil bushes, and these heads sit in a lovely basket on a bench top in my kitchen the aroma of both is absolutely divine.. just before the heads wither is when i plonk them in a pot. and then go cut the next lot off..
we also have fennel, if you love licorice this is a beautiful plant for cooking with fish or again as a air freshener. I use the leaves, and the heart at the base i allow to reproduce suckers for the plant to reproduce, so i have a never ending supply, once I have at least 5 plants from the one then i start taking the hearts and using them in cooking. I am going to experiment and try making my own licorice by using fennel and see how it goes.
We have sage for smudging, i dont use sage for cooking as we dont like the taste LOL!!
I have Thai mint, absolutely so much better tasting than corriander (it is like a strong corriander taste, but more distinct, as in corriander tends to blend with the ingredients giving a hint.. whereas Thai mint stands on its own) and much easier to grow in the tropics, so fantastic for stir frys... it again is good infuser.
I have chocolate mint absolutely divine finely chopped add some crushed nuts with icecream.HMM MMM!!
We have been able to grow rosemary which we are absolutely stoked about , because rosemary doesnt normally grow well up here..
same goes for lavender.. I would love to find a species that likes the tropical weather.
we have chammomile happily growing..I didnt think it would but woohoo it is going well so far, too small to cultivate yet..I think i will let this one seed so I can grow more.

I am sure i have forgotten a couple as i have them poked all over the place in my garden..

I have got into growing miniature tropical fruit tress as well, not only for the fruit but for the essential oils in the leaves and skin, to use for healing, and pick me ups oh and of course infusers..and of course as many veges that will grow here too, I have over a dozen different veges and salad plants growing already. For my birthday i have put in an order for a minature green house
for seedlings.. Guess what i got for mothers day Plants!!! edible and ornamental.

Next on my list is to find all the ingredients for chai tea and try growing the ingredients.. I dont know whether Black tea is illegal to grow. as i have been told coffee is, I will be checking up on our local laws to make sure.. as i use to grow the illegal poppies at one stage for their seeds to sprinkle on my home made bread, I had no idea they were illegal LOL!! why would they be if you can buy them in the shops, was my logical argument as i thought LOL!! .. I just grew them from the seeds i bought.
apparently you can buy them, but you cant grow them

But i would love to grow some tea and coffee beans.. I dont drink much coffee anymore preferring tea these days. But my own home grown ground coffee would certainly make my house smell yummy and the taste i would hope would be nice and smooth., If i grow my own especially coffee and tea, i would know for sure no slave labour was involved in picking it and of course no chemicals were used.
same with cocoa..Child trafficking is involved and slave labour for cocoa beans.. it is such as shame as we all love chocolate, but since we saw a program we wont buy it now unless it holds a fair trade sticker. and they are very scarce. My chocolate mint does fill our choccy craving.

chillis and peppers are also next on my list, not only for medicinal but also cooking.

My garden is only small but i intend to cram it with anything i can use for medicine, or cooking or just pure yum factor like fruits and nuts..
I use my front yard for ornamentals the back is used for edibles
But i am sure once we get fully going the edibles will creep in on the ornamentals LOL!!
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That self heal plant sounds wonderful Ramona.
I am in Australia. would you know If it grows over here? I live in the tropis does it grow ok in the tropics?
I will try to google an australian herbal website and see if i can get it from them.. It sounds absoutely wonderful.. I have a girlfriend who would benefit from it , she suffers badly from varicose veins.
How would it be used , would you make an ointment or would it be taken internally?

I have been on the hunt since posting in this thread for the seeds i need.
I have enquired about the prunella vulgaris you mentioned and also i found out the tea that grows well here is the camellia sinensis tea plant.
so i am hopefully going to be pointed into the right direction by someone up here that specialised in cultivating seeds.. If i was in a large city it would be easy to get both .. rural is not always a good thing LOL!

thanks for the info on the self heal plant
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wow DB! you have quite a gardnen going there.

yes, i also like to gently simmer lemons or oranges, and you know, it is very healthy to drink lemon water rather then plain ol' water from the tap. not to mention much tastier too!

never thought about simmering hte basil leaves, we eat them nearly every day--its wonderful in salads, esp. with fresh tomatoes, a little bit of soft mozzarella and then drizzle with some basalmic vinegar--mmmmm good! try it.

you don't like the taste of sage???!! OMG! I absolutely love that herb! its a staple in our home.

the rosemary plants too, yes, you're going to really like them! they are also good to cook with dried. our basil and rosemary are nearly small bushes and interestingly enough in VT, (a very cold place ot live w/a very short growing season) we had HUGE bushes of both due to it's warm location - planted near a slate rock wall we had. just plenty of water for them, as they do not like to get too dry, and being where you are might be the biggest problem for you.

i LOVE this thread and enjoy reading everyone's posts.
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Hi Ramona

Their use in magick is closely related to their medicinal properties. So sage, for instance, is a purifier: that is why it is also a good magical cleanser when burnt and smudged around a place. Oregano is used to treat "female problems" and UTI, and so is thought of as a herb of Venus, useful in romantic love and sex magick.

You know plants well by the sounds of it, but a good folk herbal will supplement your scientific training with ancient folk knowledge. My favourite is good old Culpepper, because he also gives all the planetary associations (make sure you get the original text, not the one revised in the 19th century). It's also worth getting to know the folk knowledge about local herbs where you live, both from Native and European sources. Much that was once known has been lost, but not all.

A very good way to get to know the magickal properties of plants is to get to know your plant spirits. Plants are living beings, and have spirits just as we do. They are not human, they are not anthropomorphic, but they are spirits all the same. Meditation in front of or holding a specific herb and shamanic trance can really get you to know your plants. I also use rattling over a plant, in semi-trance, to feel where my rattle is drawn to, in order to select a specific herb. I also have a Bee guide - who helps me select the herbs and other plants I need.

Astrological associations with plants are very helpful too, and they are blessed by long use. Make sure you get them from a reliable source - Culpepper is the best, though he's missing some herbs that we use today, so you'll have to supplement. But his knowledge was encyclopedic, and he actually was also an astrologer as well as a physician and apothecary, so he knew his stuff.

Magickally, you can use herbs in amulets, in the making of incense and oils, or as offerings. You can also use them in magickal cooking (basically the same as mundane cooking, only you make a spell out of a dish). You can use them in ritual.


Remember that, because they are alive, you must treat them with the utmost respect. Love them, plant them at the right time (when the moon is waxing), speak to them, sing to them. Get to know their spirits. Harvest them with respect too, don't just hack away. Ask for permission and if you feel resistance, don't force it. Traditionally you never use iron to harvest a magickal herb - so knives and scissors are out unless they are made of bronze or copper (and there, make sure there's no iron), or of ceramic or wood. Iron is inimical to plant spirits and injures the physical plant.

Traditionally, too, once you have harvested a herb for magick, you don't touch it with your bare hands: that is because you don't want to transfer your energy to the delicate herb and interfere with its subtle energy. Hold it in a clean cloth you use solely for that (I have actually dedicated a pair of cloth gardening gloves to this sole use).

Herb magick is one of the most beautiful forms of magick, and there is no end of exploration for you. Its cross-over with medicine and cooking is fascinating. And once you start getting to know plant spirits - you will fall in love with them :-) (yes, even the tough purgatives!)


What I write about herbal spirits and harvesting goes for wild herbs as well, of course.
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Self-Heal IS in Australia!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancing Bear
That self heal plant sounds wonderful Ramona.
I am in Australia. would you know If it grows over here? I live in the tropis does it grow ok in the tropics?
I will try to google an australian herbal website and see if i can get it from them.. It sounds absoutely wonderful.. I have a girlfriend who would benefit from it , she suffers badly from varicose veins.
How would it be used , would you make an ointment or would it be taken internally?

I have been on the hunt since posting in this thread for the seeds i need.
I have enquired about the prunella vulgaris you mentioned and also i found out the tea that grows well here is the camellia sinensis tea plant.
so i am hopefully going to be pointed into the right direction by someone up here that specialised in cultivating seeds.. If i was in a large city it would be easy to get both .. rural is not always a good thing LOL!

thanks for the info on the self heal plant
Hi DancingBear ~
Yes, Self-Heal is definitely in Australia. I found it when we lived near Kyogle, NSW, and a few places after that. Its preferred habitat is pastures - paddocks - that are moist, so near a dam or pond, that sort of thing, and definitely disturbed ground. Send me a private message and I'll see what I can do to get you some seeds from some friends I know who live in Aus, ok?
Not only does it grow in your country, it THRIVES! lol It spreads well in a suitable habitat, i.e., enough moisture, light, etc. but, as mentioned before, it needs some shade, so trying to grow it in bright sun would cause some problems.

For varicose veins, I would use it both ways, both topically applied as a poultice on the skin, and taken as a tincture internally. I can also tell you how to do that via pm, if you like?

The Camilla sinensis is THE tea plant, from which all black and white teas originate. Its antioxidant powers are fabulous, of course, and being able to get a plant and grow it is a privilege, believe me. I worked in a plant nursery when I was there and it is not something that is widely available, so when we did get some tea plants in, they were snapped up quickly.

There is a seed supplier that I dealt with when I lived there, and you could see her website to check out for Self-Heal seeds, let me find that out for you and I'll get back to you on it. I've always had the easiest luck in finding the plant in the wilds, that's why I never checked to buy the seeds for myself. Once the plant grows, by the way, it just produced a vast amount of seeds, so you will never need anymore after that initial plant flowers and goes to seed. It also reproduces by stolons, like strawberry, and forms a carpet of purple flowers. It's truly lovely.

Talk to you in PM
Cheers
Ramona
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